Our Mission Statement
Our mission is to glorify God by assisting the local church in its two biblically mandated tasks: reaching lost souls and perfecting the saints. We plan to accomplish this through the preaching of God’s Word, accompanied by uplifting, Christ-honoring music.
The Christian's values, however, should be grounded in the sure foundation of scripture. A Christian whose value system is not rooted in scripture is no different from the world. Many people overlook scriptural teaching in the area of music. Instead they rely on what they like, or on what they think is good music. The real question is "what is God's philosophy of music?" The scripture has a lot to say to answer this question, and it speaks about the area of music many times. Remember, the commitment must be to the Word of God, not human experience. God does have a philosophy of music. It can be described in six words, as follows: the plan, priority, power, purpose, principles, and participation of music.
From the creation of the world God planned for music to be a vital part of creation. In Ezekiel 28:13, many Bible scholars believe that the prophet Ezekiel is speaking of Lucifer, the great archangel. The context is in the garden of Eden. Ezekiel says that "the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created." So, it seems very probable that music was created by God in that first creation week. The over 600 scripture passages with reference to music point to God's overwhelming plan for music. God made it; it was His plan, not man's. It was made to reflect the beauty and order of His creation. Not only did God create the plan for music but He placed a special priority on music. Two hundred times in scripture God commands us to sing. In the New Testament, it is clear that God has chosen the foolishness of preaching to save souls, but second only to preaching is the area of music. Early on in the Old Testament the people of God knew there should be an emphasis on good music. Genesis 4:21 talks about a man named Jubal who was the father of all who handle the harp and organ. In Exodus Moses expressed himself through music. God wrought a great victory at Jericho partially through music. David set certain paid individuals to lead in the singing and playing of music in the temple. He saw the priority of music. All the way through Israel's history, music was a priority, and it should be a priority in these days as well. God showed the priority of music when He included a divinely inspired song book, the Psalms.
There is such a priority placed on music in scripture simply because of the power of music. Music has the power to communicate a message far greater than the simple spoken word. Many times in scripture when someone was overwhelmed with emotion, he would communicate that message through song. Deuteronomy 31:19 speaks of a song being a witness, and Deuteronomy 31:21 says a song can testify. Music has the power to accomplish victories as it did for Joshua and Gideon. Music can comfort as it did for King Saul. Music can lead us to worship, or music can lead us to rebellion. Man understands the power of music very well. There are music companies who have researched the effect of certain styles of music on shopping. The world uses music to set different moods for various activities. It is no surprise to anyone that music can be a powerful tool to communicate a certain message.
If God planned music and placed great priority and power on it, then what is its purpose? There is a threefold purpose of music. First, music is to glorify God. Glorification has the idea of giving a right opinion about God. Psalm 147:1 says, "Praise ye the Lord; for it is good to sing praise unto our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is comely." Throughout the book of Psalms music is used to glorify the character of God and to praise Him for His mighty works toward men. This glory and praise can be summed up in one word: Worship. A Hymn is written for the express purpose of worship. It focuses on the person and works of God.
The second purpose is subordinate to the first. It is found in Colossians 3:16. Music is for the teaching and admonishing of the saints. Simply put, music should edify the believer. Truly, if the music is glorifying God, it will also edify the believer who is filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18-19). Many times Gospel songs are written with the express purpose of edification.
The third purpose is the least emphasized in scripture, and that is the evangelization of the lost. Scripture does not specifically state this purpose, but it does imply that when the unsaved see the changed life of a believer, and their heart felt worship and praise to God through singing, they will recognize the difference. The problem comes when we are willing to sacrifice the first two purposes for the purpose of winning souls. This is pragmatism. The end does not justify the means. Music should first glorify God. If it does, then it will edify the believer. If it edifies the believer, then the unsaved will notice and may be saved.
These purposes should be applied to each area of music and its performance. The text, music, performer, and performance style must conform to the scriptural purpose in order to be scriptural music. All four of these areas must be evaluated in order to make proper choices in music.
The plan, priority, power, and purpose of music have been laid out. Now, what are some basic scriptural principles of music? It is clear that music will not fulfill its Biblical purpose unless it agrees with Biblical principles. Music styles change, but the principles of God's Word do not. Cultures change, but Biblical principles span all cultures.
The "new song" principle is found in Psalm 40:3. Our song as Christians should be new in quality and freshness. It should be characteristic of a changed life. When a person is born again, the Bible says that he becomes a new creature in Christ. Those old characteristics of the natural sin condition are passed away, and all things are become new. This change certainly should affect the area of music. The newness in quality is not speaking exclusively of the text, but is including music, performer and performance style as well. We should not be conforming to the world but confronting the world with our changed life.
The second principle is the principle of appropriateness. In other words, the music and the text should be appropriate for each other. Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Paul links the word of God to specific kinds of songs. It is clearly making a connection between text and music. There are appropriate songs for presenting God's message and there are inappropriate songs for presenting God's message. The method of presentation is just as important as the message. It will either support the message or detract from the message. Putting God's message with just any old music will not suffice. The music must agree with the text.
The third principle is the principle of association. There may be some music that cannot be used simply because of the predominant associations. A certain song may be associated with a performer, a place, or a movement that is not in submission to scripture. Also, certain styles are associated with specific cultures or activities. For example, jazz is associated with the barroom scene. Christians should not associate themselves with wicked, pagan styles of music. This applies to secular music as well as sacred. Many churches today will gladly use music associated with wickedness in the "worship" of God. What a poor testimony, and blasphemy upon the name of Christ. "Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing (II Cor 6:17)."
There are also some basic musical principles that need to be addressed. What makes a song a good, quality piece of music? Musicians in general would agree that the music itself (without the words and either secular or sacred) can be of excellent quality or poor quality. Music always consists of three elements: Melody, harmony, and rhythm. Without any one of these elements a composition is not music. These elements must be put in proper priority. The melody is the theme of the music. The harmony and rhythm are supposed to elevate the melody. Any time the melody becomes subordinate, the music is unbalanced. Both secular musicians and sacred would agree that melody affects the spirit or soul, harmony affects the mind and rhythm affects the body. Musicians know that they can get people to respond different ways by over emphasizing certain elements. For example: the New Age Movement seeks to help people self actualize by reaching an altered state of consciousness. One of the ways they use to accomplish their goal is music. The New Age style of music over emphasizes harmony. It is done on purpose to help people meditate and lose their mind. Styles are made by simply emphasizing certain elements in different ways. The only people who consistently argue about these basic musical principles are Christians! The secular musicians know exactly what they are doing!
All these principles have been discussed because the Bible is clear that all Christians should be participating in music. Whether it be in special music, the choir, or congregational singing, all Christians should be singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord. Not only should Christians be participating in music, but the right kind of music. It takes the Spirit's power and a knowledge of scriptural principles to properly discern what kind of music to use in listening or in ministry. It is not an easy task, but it is a necessary one. Just like God has commanded Christians to witness, he has also commanded His children to sing. It is disobedience when a born again believer chooses not to participate in music. Psalm 100 says, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands."
God has a philosophy of music. He does not want us to just pick and choose as we see fit. So, we must have a value system even in the area of music. A sieve, to run our music through. The plan, priority, power, purpose, principles, and participation of music is a good place to start. God is concerned with the methods we use as well as the message that is presented. Drawing lines in the sand and taking strong stands in this battlefield is not easy, but it must be done to please the one who withstood the strongest battle when He went to an old rugged cross and defeated sin and Satan. The question is "How bad do I want to please God?"
The Bible teaches this in II Timothy 4:5. "But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." The Bible also gives examples of evangelists. In Acts 21:8 God calls Philip an evangelist. Not only is there a person named an evangelist, but there is a philosophy nurtured by the evangelist.
This philosophy must be biblically centered and boldly contended. Why does he do what he does? What motivates him? What are his priorities? How does he fit in today's church? These questions can be answered simply by looking at four focuses of the evangelist: his purpose, his pulpit, his pastor, and his priorities. If an evangelist will ever be effective in the ministry he must realize his biblical purpose. The evangelist has a twofold purpose outlined in Ephesians 4:12: to evangelize and edify.
First, he is to evangelize the lost world. The term evangelist itself comes from a Greek word euangelistes. This term is a simple definition of a preacher of the gospel. It may also be defined as one who brings the good news. Another closely related word is euangellion which is translated gospel in the New Testament ( Van Gelderen 6 ).
The evangelist must start with personal evangelism. Obviously, the evangelist must have a passion for souls. "Without a willingness to speak to individuals about the love and forgiveness of the Savior , he would have very little credibility in speaking to the crowds" ( Douglas 25 ). But, along with his own personal evangelism, he must also preach personal evangelism. He must motivate others to personal evangelism, as well as preaching the gospel himself. The driving force behind the evangelist should be the redemption of lost souls. This is his first purpose in the church. Secondly, the evangelist is given to the church to edify (build up) the saved. He must be a revivalist. Revival may be defined as a "new quality of spiritual life that comes through knowing the greatness and nearness of our holy, gracious Creator" (Lloyd-Jones 6).
Revival should be at the heart of the evangelist. This sort of revival will only come when the evangelist, first, is personally sanctified from sin. I Timothy 6:11 says, "But thou, O man of God, flee these things." What is this man of God to flee? He must be pure from sin. "What we are is far more important than what we do. Indeed, if what we are does not satisfy the demands of God, then what we do is virtually worthless (Douglas 3 )."
Also, this revival will come when the evangelist preaches sanctification. Throughout the Bible, God denounces sin and promotes repentance. The evangelist must motivate the people to cleanse their hearts from sin and turn to righteousness. This is the way he edifies the church. It is clear in Ephesians 4:11-12 that the evangelist and pastor-teacher should have this purpose in mind.
The growth and building of the church depends on the sanctification of its people. The evangelist must have a predetermined purpose, but he must also have a powerful pulpit. The evangelist is primarily a preacher. Unlike the pastor, the evangelist does not have a flock to oversee and administrate. Evangelist Kevin Brownfield described it this way: "The pastor is a general practitioner and the evangelist is a specialist." Consequently, the evangelist must have a powerful pulpit ministry.
The evangelist may preach well over two hundred times a year. Thus, the focus of his attention must be on the preparation and delivery of sermons. These sermons must not be based on his own opinions, but on the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Paul told Timothy to "preach the Word" (II Tim 4:2). Through the following discussion of preaching, it will be assumed that the evangelist must preach straight Bible messages.
Based on this assumption, there are four ways an evangelist must preach: prayerfully, purposefully, passionately, and practically. The evangelist is a man preaching a message from God. What a sobering thought! The preaching will be ineffective and powerless unless the presence and power of the Spirit of God is evident.
Prayer is the essential ingredient to productive preaching. "Our poverty in prayer is the seedbed to failure" (Ravenhill 86). Prayer is the most neglected resource known to mankind. The evangelist must take hold of the resource available and storm the borders of heaven with prayer. What must he pray for specifically in this area of preaching?
First, he must pray for the preparation of his sermons in the following two ways: the long term preparation of studying God's Word and writing new sermons, and the selection and preparation for each individual service he preaches. He should pray about what message to preach.
Secondly, he must pray for power and liberty in his preaching. The evangelist must have this grace from God alone. He cannot and will not be able to carry on within his own strength and power. He must be filled with Holy Spirit fire.
Third, the evangelist must pray for the people. Each time he goes to preach, he should have already interceded for the congregation. The response to his message may depend upon his prayers. Souls may be damned to hell as a result of his weak prayer life. The evangelist may as well not go into the pulpit unless he has spent a good amount of time in a season of prayer. He cannot pray too much. God's work and his ministry will be strengthened when he calls out before the throne of God. The evangelist's preaching must be prayerful.
The evangelist must also preach purposefully. When he steps into that pulpit he must have some goals in mind. The purpose of the evangelist, which was mentioned earlier, is a help in formulating these goals. Sin is the primary problem in our world, so the evangelist must have a goal to preach against sin. There are two approaches to preaching against sin. First, he should preach about redemption from the Adamic sin nature. Second, he should preach to Christians daily confession of sin and changing to become like Christ. He must not back down on any sin. It is essential that he preaches hard on sin. He also must have the goal of preaching about the Savior. As Hebrews 12:2 says, "looking unto Jesus" should be our focus.
Salvation comes only through accepting the Savior, and sanctification comes only through following the Savior. As a result of the church's knowledge of sin and the Savior, the evangelist may now preach on service and surrender. The natural response to Christ's love and sacrifice should be service (Romans 12:1-2). These should be the purposes of his preaching: to preach against sin, about the Savior, and about service to the Savior.
The Bible says, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (I Cor. 1:18). The evangelist must preach powerfully. Preaching is the tool that God has chosen to use to save the lost. How does an evangelist have power in his preaching? The first answer is prayer and was discussed earlier. Power in preaching comes only from the word of God; thus, the preacher must have exposition in mind. This does not mean he must always preach expository messages, but it does mean he must exegete every passage he deals with. Every point and application must be drawn from the text of Scripture, for "the Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb 4.12).
He must also preach with evangelism in mind. He must view every lost soul hanging over the pit of hell ready to plunge into everlasting torment. This reality will cause the preacher to be passionate in his delivery. It is said of the great evangelist D.L Moody that he never preached for lost souls without tears in his eyes (Larsen 118).
The evangelist must preach with enthusiasm. In today's culture and society people tend to have a short attention spans. The preacher must have excitement and energy to make the message hit the hearts of the hearers. No one likes to listen to a boring preacher. The evangelist must be expository, evangelistic, and enthusiastic in preaching the Word of God, which is the power of God.
The last characteristic of the pulpit ministry is practicality. The preacher must make the message of God meaningful and helpful to the hearer. The application of the truths and principles of Scripture is what will change people's lives.
Preaching is not preaching unless the evangelist applies it in a practical way. How? First, he must add illustration to his sermon. It has been said that illustrations are like windows through which the truth can be seen. Long, drawn out, exaggerated stories have no place in the arsenal of illustrations. Personal, real, timely illustrations should be used. The evangelist will lose his excitement and enthusiasm as well as the attention of the congregation unless he becomes a good illustrator.
Secondly, he must apply the instruction of the Word to specific areas of people's lives. He must hit each person between the eyes with application of the Word. Just a statement of truth will not do. That truth must be applied to everyday life. Lastly, the preacher must preach practically by appealing with invitation. The invitation is a necessity. "Preceding any valid commitment is personal decision" (Douglas 171). The evangelist must appeal for decisions in a public invitation. This is a practical way to make the commitments real and lasting to the people. Generally, people are more serious about their decisions when they make them public. Various techniques and methods may be used in the public invitation, but there is no dispute on the fact that there should be a public invitation.
Practical preaching is essential for the pulpit ministry of the evangelist. The purpose and the pulpit have been discussed. Now consider the pastor of the evangelist. The evangelist should have a local church home and an individual man who is his pastor. Why? Evangelist Brownfield said, "Without authority I am very dangerous."
The evangelist's personality tends to be very headstrong. He needs someone leading and directing him. Without this authority the evangelist may fall into things that he should have never been involved in. The evangelist's pastor will provide a source of accountability for him. In the ministry of evangelism it is essential to have accountability.
The counsel and encouragement that he can receive from his pastor is invaluable. The evangelist also needs a pastor under whom he can sit to hear the preaching of the Word. The evangelist preaches so much that he does not get preached to very often. It is good for him to renew his focus and commit to doing more for Christ.
The local church is God's method of evangelizing and edifying the saints, so the evangelist should be accountable just like all Christians to a local church ministry. The evangelist should also focus on the pastor of each local church on his itinerary. The evangelist's whole ministry revolves around pastors of different local churches. He must have a definite strategy to minister effectively to these men. Tom Farrell said, "You minister to a man, and you've helped a man; but you minister to a pastor, and you've helped the ministry." This is so true. The quickest and most effective way to help the church is through the pastor. The evangelist can have an incredible impact through encouragement and enlightenment. Many pastors are discouraged in the ministry and become ineffective as a result. The evangelist can lift the spirits of both the pastor and his congregation by having a positive attitude and joyful countenance. He should not ever be grumpy or unfriendly. Rather, he should be a joy to be around. Barnabas was an encourager in the Bible, and the evangelist must be a Barnabas.
He must find the needy pastors and lift their spirits and give them hope for the future. The evangelist must also enlighten the pastor. He must share with the pastor his observations of what he sees in the church. Of course, this must be done in a loving spirit and with much wisdom. The evangelist should not pick out his pet peeves and be overly critical of the church. Many times the pastor will ask for his advice and counsel in various areas. He must be honest but tactful. He needs to open the pastor's eyes to things to which he may be blind. The pastor is the leader of the local church, and the evangelist is an asset, a helper, and a resource to be used. The local church is God's institution, and the evangelist needs to support the local church by encouraging and enlightening the pastor.
The issue of the evangelist's priorities is the last area to be discussed. This list is important because he will make decisions based upon his priorities. He must know what they are. It should be assumed that all his priorities add up to make his ministry, so the actual ministry is not an actual priority listed below. However, as stated before, there are many areas that need to be prioritized in the "nuts and bolts" of his evangelistic ministry. The priority list that follows will include only the essentials that have not been mentioned already.
Priority number one is his Father. The evangelist must have an excellent relationship with his heavenly Father. He must make this his ultimate goal in life. In order to keep this priority, he must have freedom from sin. One of his affirmations should be "I acknowledge my obligation, as a servant of God, to lead a life of holiness and moral purity, knowing that we exemplify Christ to the church and to the world" (Graham 74).
It is imperative for a preacher of the gospel to practice what he preaches. He must be seeing victory over sin, the flesh, and the devil in his personal life. He must be fighting daily for purity of mind and body. He must be ever cautious of his testimony before the lost world and the church. He should be above reproach in every way. He must be a man with a strong conscience and a tender heart to the Spirit of God. He must be a strong Christian before a strong evangelist. Not only should he be free from sin, but also he must have daily fellowship with the Savior. This fellowship hinges on the evangelist's personal time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study. Tom Farrell said, "You must be a man in private before you will be a man in public." Jonathan Edwards, before he preached his classic sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," spent three days and nights fasting and praying. "When he came into the pulpit on the Lord's day 'he looked as though he had been gazing straight into the face of God'" (Larsen 119). This relationship with God must be first priority.
The second priority is his family. Many times preachers are so obsessed with the ministry that they neglect the greatest ministry: their families. The wife and children of the evangelist should have first place in his heart next to his heavenly Father. God will not bless a man who does not take his responsibilities at home seriously. The Scriptures say that a pastor must "rule his own house well." This is a requirement on God's list of standards for pastors and evangelists. The evangelist is away from home and family often; thus, it is imperative that his family be a priority. He may have this proper relationship by loving his wife and children as Christ loved the church. His wife must be precious to him, and she should know it. The key is communication. His children should know that he would drop everything for them if necessary. The key is planning time with his children. If this time is not planned it will not happen in a busy ministry. Not only must he love them, but he must lead them. The spiritual leader is Dad, the evangelist. He must lead in devotions, prayer, and fellowship with God. He also must deal with his children biblically.
Too often, preachers' kids rebel and are a shame to the Lord and their fathers' ministries. The burden must rest on Dad, the evangelist. He must not overlook sin in his children. "There is no area of life that is more important than your family" (Douglas 52). The evangelist will disqualify himself from the ministry of preaching if his family relationships are not priority.
The third priority is the evangelist's finances. The evangelist lives basically off freewill offerings. Many evangelists, however, have used their position to manipulate and con people into donating large sums of money. This priority must be one of integrity and honesty.
The Bible is clear that one must provide for his family. The issue here is stewardship. The evangelist should be wise and accountable. He should also be a most grateful man, realizing that everything he receives is a gift from someone else. He also should be an incredibly giving individual. He should not neglect his tithes and offerings to his local church (another reason to be under a local church and pastor). Neither should he withhold gifts to those who are needy. He must have an outlet of blessing, "for it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
Finances are necessary for the spread of the gospel, but they must be handled wisely. The final priority on this non-comprehensive list is the evangelist's friends. These friends are those, whether in or out of the ministry, with whom the evangelist chooses to come into close fellowship with. He should remember two basic principles when dealing with friends, especially those in the ministry.
First, he must not compromise. The evangelist must be willing to disagree agreeably on non-essential application issues. However, the evangelist must not budge or compromise on clear doctrine or commands of Scripture. The Christian community is pushing for a unification of all Christians into one church free from denomination. Many evangelists are falling, or choosing to go right along with people who promote heretical teachings and false doctrines. The evangelist must have enough knowledge of biblical doctrines to know when and from whom to separate. He must not compromise on the Word of God.
Secondly, he must not criticize. It would be easy from one church to the next to criticize certain pastors to other pastors. The evangelist must be a man who holds his tongue, and keeps silent about the problems of other churches. He must be positive no matter how negative the situation. Of course, he should never lie, gossip or slander anyone in public. How the evangelists handles friendships is crucial to his success as a servant of God.
This paper is a brief overview of the philosophy of a traveling evangelist. What an incredible responsibility he has to carry out! But, what a thrill to be used of God to evangelize the world and edify the church. The evangelist must know his purpose, must strengthen his pulpit, must encourage and be accountable to his pastor, and he must live by his priorities.
The Bible says, "Do the work of an evangelist" (II Tim 4:5). What a joy it is to labor in the service of the Lord and to be a mouthpiece for deity!
Why is counseling so important? Should it be a priority? The answers to both of these questions can be found in the fact that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23). Though the apostle Paul uses the word "if" here in Galatians 6:1, he really in essence is saying "when" a man is overtaken in a fault. It will happen. People will sin and get themselves into great difficulties because of the choices they make. Contrary to popular psychology, poor self-esteem does not make counseling a priority, but sin does. Because of the total depravity of man, counseling should be a priority. Sin always has consequences, and many times the consequences of sin are packaged in the form of relationship problems, financial problems, or some other great difficulty in life. Christians and non-Christians alike will have circumstances that need counsel, not because they are victims, but because they are sinners. Sin makes counseling a priority.
Counsel by definition is nothing more than help or advice, but what is it's purpose? Is it simply to help people cope, or to escape certain feelings or pressures? The scripture is clear that the purpose of counseling is restoration. The word "restore" found in Galatians 6:1, has the idea of resetting a broken bone to productive use. Restoration is helping another person mend the broken relationship with God in their life so that they may be productive again. Sin is the source of all broken relationships. So in order to mend that broken relationship with God, one must know how to deal with sin. Is it possible for one sinner to help another sinner be restored to usefulness? Yes, it is possible but only through an external, fixed, and objective reference point. The Word of God is that reference point. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable" (II Tim 3:16). The goal of every counselor should be to restore the counsellee to usefulness in the body of Christ. The manual is the Bible.
Who are the people that should accomplish this task? "Ye which are spiritual, restore such an one" (Gal 6:1). For a person to be spiritual their must be salvation and sanctification. Every born again believer who is walking with the Lord, can be involved in the restoration process. However, a pastor has a special task of shepherding the flock. One of the ways a pastor should be shepherding is by counseling. This task should not be feared, but followed with great confidence in the Spirit of God and the Word of God.
This counseling should be done in a certain way. Gal 6:1 says " In a spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted." The process begins with a heart of compassion for the counsellee. Meekness is strength under control. It is speaking the truth in love. True love will tell the truth, but truth must be packaged with the right spirit. The truth that must be spoken is the truth of the Word of God. Truth comes from Christ not the counselor. The counselor must also have a heart of contrition. He must think very deeply about his own life, and have a humble heart not a haughty one. This humility will take the confidence away from the person and place it on the power of God.
God's way is far superior to man's way, for God is Holy and man is sinful. Churches today must not rely on foolish psychological theories, but on the faithful penetrating truths of the scriptures. Though all seek to solve problems, Churches and Pastors should be skilled at solving problems through Biblical counsel. People are sinners that need to be restored by compassionate, contrite men who know the Lord and His Word.